By Heather Black
Sicamous council wants a heads-up on new commercial development permit applications to be better prepared to answer questions from the public.
At the Oct. 26 committee of the whole meeting, Coun. Colleen Anderson brought up the proposed – and much publicly talked about – Starbucks and Centex gas station development. Because district staff handle such permit applications, she explained, not all of council had the information before the public heard about it.
“In this particular case, I feel we were blindsided by it,” Anderson said of first hearing about it on the streets. “But with (councillor) portfolios and economic development, I’m just wondering if there’s a better way to communicate issuing a permit like this, having a chat with council so we know what’s coming.”
Coun. Jeff Mallmes asked about a district permit for Centex/Starbucks at the Oct. 12 regular council meeting. Council approved the permit at its Oct. 26 meeting.
With this particular project having generated a lot of discussion in the community regarding safety at the Trans-Canada Highway/Rauma Ave. intersection, and the issue of tractor-trailers parked along the highway, Anderson said council should have had the chance to talk about the pros and cons in order to answer those questions.
While Mallmes pointed out staff is there to handle permit applications, while council’s job is to comment and vote on them, he did agree some prior knowledge would be a good idea for developments such as this.
“If staff sent us out something, especially commercial, if they sent an email… that would be a good heads-up,” he agreed.
As a result of the conversation, staff will now email council regarding new commercial applications or others that will come to table for input.